Union Village authority formed in Warren County

The Warren County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution on Tuesday supporting the creation of a new community authority for the 1,200-acre Union Village development.

More than 12,000 people are expected to eventually live in the residential sections of the development, planned on land owned by Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices.

“You are literally transforming this acreage into a village,” Commissioner Dave Young said during a discussion of the project with Otterbein officials and others making it happen.

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Through the authority, charges from residents and users of the development, expected to grow to 4,500 homes and multi-family residences, will be used to support and operate the development, perhaps including construction of a fire station or school.

A 109-acre sports complex and a range of other retail and commercial development are also to be built on the land around Otterbein’s main retirement campus and headquarters, west of Lebanon.

The land is part of more than 4,000 acres once part of the Union Village inhabited by the Shakers, a religious community, into the late 1800’s.

“It’s a nice way to do something unique and special,” said Jill Wilson, who heads Otterbein, a non-profit retirement community provider based in Warren County. “We have over 1,000 acres of land we want to develop in a thoughtful, high-quality manner.”

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Also Tuesday, the commissioners approved a resolution supporting an agreement calling for transfer of the sports complex land from Otterbein to the county.

The county, Turtlecreek Twp. trustees, Otterbein and Lebanon City Schools are close to approving agreements establishing a tax incremental financing district (TIF) setting aside for 20 years all of the property taxes on commercial development and half of those that would otherwise be collected on homes built here to pay for roads and other infrastructure for the development.

Once the TIF and community authority are in place, Otterbein is to transfer the land for the Warren County Sports Complex at Union Village to the county.

“This is just one more piece of the puzzle,” Commissioner Shannon Jones said during a public hearing on the new community authority, permitted in Ohio law for developments of at least 1,000 acres.

The county plans to levy an additional 1 percent lodging tax to help offset the costs of financing construction of the sports complex, expected to cost as much as $15 million.

RELATED: Warren County delays 1-percent lodgings tax hike

Jon Sams, a Turtlecreek Twp. trustee and lawyer for the sports complex, said Union Village is viewed as the township’s future downtown, as develop comes to the area between Cincinnati and Dayton and Interstates 71 and 75.

Sams said the tax sharing and community authority funds would help the township pay for its costs stemming from the transformation and providing services and maintenance.

“It makes us whole,” he said on Tuesday.

Later during the meeting in Lebanon, representatives from the Warren County Convention & Visitors Bureau briefed the commission on how it plans to draw national soccer, baseball and other sports competitions to the complex off Ohio 741 and Greentree Road in Turtlecreek Twp.

Next week, the commissioners review the next stage in the planning process designed to end with development of the sports complex. On April 22, the TIF agreements are expected to be approved by the Turtlecreek Twp. trustees after a public hearing.

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